2019 Teaching Excellence Award
Associate Professor of History
“A good professor will help you learn. A great professor will help you excel. A one-of-a-kind professor will change your life.”
That is how one former student describes Dr. Peter Staudenmaier, an associate professor of history and recipient of the Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.
“Although his methods are decidedly old school, and his personality is low-key and self-deprecating, he has been one of the History Department’s — and the university’s — most effective teachers since he stepped on campus in 2010,” Dr. James Marten, chair of the History Department, says.
Among Staudenmaier’s skills is the ability to adapt and translate his material to all students, regardless of their history interest or enthusiasm. He is credited for his engaging approach, bringing an entertaining, supportive and productive presence to class.
“Because our students live their lives beyond the boundaries of the university, I try hard to make sure that what we do in the classroom matters to what we do in the world at large,” Staudenmaier says. “I want my students to feel intellectually challenged and personally changed by what they encounter in my courses.”
Staudenmaier has taught 14 different undergraduate and graduate courses, ranging from basic history surveys with as many as 90 students to small research seminars with just 10. Most of these classes were not on the books when he arrived, but he has carved out a wide niche of courses benefiting from his expertise and enthusiasm.
“Regardless of the course level, my aim is to foster a critical and participatory classroom atmosphere,” Staudenmaier said. “As much as possible, I try to translate my passion about history into a focused examination of what is at stake in understanding the past and why it matters for the present.”